Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin commented the June 7 statement of the Georgian Foreign Ministry, which accused Moscow of “deliberately inhibiting” the implementation of the 2011 Swiss-mediated agreement between Tbilisi and Moscow on customs monitoring.
Tbilisi stressed then that “the aim of the agreement is monitoring of trade between Georgia and Russia,” and added that the Russian side “tries to present the occupied Tskhinvali Region as a party to the agreement, which obviously contradicts to the principles and the purpose of this agreement.”
Grigory Karasin, who responded to Tbilisi’s statements on June 10, denied that Russia tried to present Tskhinvali as a party to the agreement, and said that the document was “bilateral.” “It is [to be] implemented exclusively on the territories of Russia and Georgia, does not relate to other countries of the region and does not require cooperation with them.”
Karasin added that “a huge amount of preparatory work has already been carried out,” and all that remained for its implementation was for the Georgian side “to confirm, without [using] tricks, its intention to honestly implement the agreement requirements on customs terminals.” “This will, hopefully, happen soon,” he added.
At the same time, Karasin noted that “the Russian-Georgian agreement does not regulate, and by definition, cannot regulate the cargo movement through the territory of the Republic of South Ossetia,” pushing Russia’s official position that the region is not part of Georgia’s territory.
“Without solving the practical issues that relate to it,” he added, “speaking of establishing transit [connection] is senseless.”
“That is why we welcomed the constructive attitude of President Bibilov. It is unfortunate that the reaction in Tbilisi was different,” Karasin concluded.